Published on Wed Dec 09 2020

Social exclusion and stereotyping: why and when exclusion fosters individuation of others.

Heather M Claypool, Michael J Bernstein

Exclusion triggers a desire to re-capture connections with others. To facilitate this goal, excluded individuals typically process social information especially carefully. We predicted excluded individuals should individuate more and stereotype less than non-excluded individuals.

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Abstract

Exclusion triggers a desire to re-capture connections with others. To facilitate this goal, excluded individuals typically process social information especially carefully. One implication of this is that exclusion may foster judgments of others that are reliant on a careful consideration of their idiosyncratic behaviors rather than on more superficial features. We predicted, therefore, that excluded individuals should individuate more and stereotype less than non-excluded individuals and that such effects should be in service of identifying appropriate re-affiliation candidates. In 3 replications of Experiment 1, excluded (compared to non-excluded) individuals rendered less stereotypic judgments of occupational and racial group members described with mildly or ambiguously counter-stereotypic information. Confirming such processes aid with re-affiliation, Experiments 2 and 3 showed that these effects occurred for social targets that represented reasonable sources of re-affiliation, but not for offensive social targets (i.e., Skinheads) or non-social agents. Experiment 4 underscored that excluded participants process presented social information more carefully (individuate), showing greater differentiation in judgments of highly stereotype-consistent and stereotype-inconsistent targets. Implications for the social exclusion literature are discussed.